AI Hip Hop: Do You ETMOOC Too?


Yesterday, I was playing around with the AI Music application within the voice-centered AI site called Uberduck, and I went back in to play around today, generating a teaser verse of a song about ETMOOC2. The AI generated the lyrics from a prompt, and then added a voice, rapping the words over a beat.

Listen to the short one-verse rap

Peace (too),

ETMOOC: The Emergence Of Deep Fake Music

AI Music by StableDiffusion

I’ve been paying attention to the ruckus over the deep fake music that has showing up on social media in the last few weeks, where an AI-influenced song – Heart On My Sleeve — using the voices of Drake and The Weeknd has shaken the music industry. The song in question was different from some of the earlier memes and remixes that were taking root in social media. In this case, it was an entirely new song by AI with the voices of the two pop stars singing new words generated by AI. And it was pretty authentic sounding, too, in terms of song theme and vocal intonations and phrasings of the two artists.

This podcast episode — The Daily from New York Times — is a good listen for an overview of the situation.

As a musician and songwriter, I find myself conflicted on the emergence of AI in the field of making music. On one hand, it opens up some interesting doors for creative composition, using sounds and voices and techniques that might not otherwise be easily available to musicians. I’ve done some explorations of AI music sites but haven’t yet been all that impressed by what I’ve found. Clearly, though, there’s more out there that I haven’t yet discovered and played around with.

On the other hand, the legal and ethical issues of copyright and intellectual property use and infringement are huge, as it has been for the AI art generation field (lawsuits are already underway over the scraping of online content to feed the AI databases) and it feels like another reminder that the AI companies will need to find mechanisms (or be forced to, via lawsuits) for recognizing the contributions of musicians to any field of AI Music. I don’t know how that will be done, but it seems important for the tech folks to figure it out.

This all reminds me a bit of an earlier post I wrote a few months back about using loop tracks to construct songs — which is something I do along with traditional guitar-in-hand songwriting– and whether that is “songwriting” or not, since I had not created the original files. The AI revolution takes that idea and pushes it about 100 notches further, in my opinion.

I’ll keep an eye on this field of AI Music, as songwriter, musician, fan.

Peace (and Sound),

PS — Update — I wanted to try out making a song via AI, so I used UberDuck’s tool to create this rap: 

I can’t say I am all that impressed but it was interesting. I also used the free account, which is clearly limited in many ways.

ETMOOC2: The Potential Energy Cost Of Generative AI

[Explored] Mairie de Londres - City Hall of London
[Explored] Mairie de Londres – City Hall of London flickr photo by Jopa Elleul shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

One interesting thread (via Kate T) that emerged in a discussion in ETMOOC2’s inquiry into Artificial Intelligence and the emergence of ChatGPT, Bard and others was the impact on the environment. I hadn’t really thought much about it (I know, I should have) but when we think of how cryptocurrencies and NFTs all came to have a rather outsized impact via energy use and computing power, it made sense that generative AI would likely be doing the same.

An article in my May 2023 Wired magazine entitled “Generative AI’s Dirty Secret” by Chris Stokel-Walker also explores the topic, and while data from companies like Microsoft and Google and others releasing AI into the world is hard for outside researchers to come by, the article notes that “AI-fortified search engines are likely to demand far more computing power, which means a massive increase in energy use and carbon emissions.” (Stokel-Walker).

I suspect these companies are already working on data center efficiencies and other alternatives to the way the algorithms work to combat this — at the least, conserving energy will save them money, but also, many of these companies have environmental, climate-focused plans in their mission statements, although how much we should trust those mission statements in a business model designed for profit over the common good remains to be seen.

Kate shared these three articles that might be of interest on this topic:

This diagram — which widens the scope a bit — is from the article at Environmental Science & Technology:

As with all things, technology-related, we have to keep an eye on the picture of the world at large, and consider the impacts on the environment and climate, and us, as we dive into new tools and consider the pros and cons.

Peace (And This Planet),